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Missouri's Pinkel, Franklin to represent football team at SEC Media Days

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 | 12:07 p.m. CDT; updated 4:26 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 16, 2013

HOOVER, Ala. — The Southeastern Conference is getting ready for the upcoming football season.

The SEC's annual media preview kicks off at a hotel in suburban Birmingham on Tuesday.

The league has issued more than 1,000 credentials for media members, and fans typically show up to see their favorite football coaches and players.

Missouri's Gary Pinkel, quarterback James Franklin, wide receiver L'Damian Washington and linebacker Andrew Wilson will speak at 1 p.m. Tuesday. ESPNU will have coverage from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Florida coach Will Muschamp, Hugh Freeze of Ole Miss and South Carolina's Steve Spurrier will also appear the first day with a few players.

The schedule Wednesday includes Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, Butch Jones of Tennessee, Auburn's Gun Malzahn and Bret Bielema of Arkansas.

Two-time defending national champion Nick Saban of Alabama is up Thursday, along with LSU's Les Miles, Georgia's Mark Richt and Vanderbilt's James Franklin.

Here are five things to know ahead of the Southeastern Conference's Media Days:

JOHNNY FOOTBALL OR JOHNNY DRAMA? Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was undeniably spectacular on the field during a freshman season that culminated in a Heisman Trophy. His off-the-field resume isn't nearly as impressive. The face of college football was in the news again Monday after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor stemming from a 2012 bar fight close to campus. He also recently left the Manning family's football camp a day early after missing some of his assignments as a camp counselor and coach. He'll be the main draw of these SEC Media Days — and will likely face some hard questions when he takes the podium Wednesday.

CLOWNEY'S HEISMAN HOPES: The league's defensive version of Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney — a playmaking force who can sometimes take over a game — takes the stage Tuesday to talk about what could be a mammoth season. The towering South Carolina defensive end has a $5 million insurance policy, a signature, helmet-toppling hit on Michigan's Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl and already a sixth-place Heisman finish.

A NEW CROP OF COACHES: Four new coaches will make their debut at SEC Media Days, and all of them will take the podium during Wednesday's interview sessions. Arkansas' Bret Bielema, Auburn's Gus Malzahn, Kentucky's Mark Stoops and Tennessee's Butch Jones all inherit different sets of circumstances at their respective schools, but will be judged by the same stark standard: wins and losses in the cutthroat league.

EIGHT IS ENOUGH: The mighty SEC has already claimed seven straight BCS titles, and has no shortage of candidates to keep the string going. Perhaps LSU or Manziel's Texas A&M in the West. Maybe Florida, Georgia or South Carolina in the East. And Alabama might be the odds-on favorite. Chances are most of those coaches would rather talk about their teams' supposed "deficiencies."

ROLLING TIDE: That "dynasty" word is already getting tossed around regarding Alabama. Winning a third straight national title and fourth in five years would just make it official — if it's not already. Coach Nick Saban, quarterback AJ McCarron and linebacker C.J. Mosley will no doubt avoid the D-word on Day 3.


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